Whether you’re considering writing as an additional income-earner, wondering how to break into the field as a full-time professional or you’re just curious about what you need to become a writer in today’s digital market, then you’ve come to the right place. From qualifications to portfolios, software to specific skills, there are many things to consider for the budding writer.
If you’re wondering exactly what it takes to get your headstart into a new career, read on for a smidge of expert opinion, a little advice and a lot of practical knowledge when it comes to becoming a writer.
What do I need to become a writer?
The path to writing may not be as straightforward as a standard in-office position, but when it comes to the rewards of being your own boss, creating your content and making your customers happy, there’s little better. If you’re wondering what do I need to become a writer? you’re not alone – in fact, according to Elaine Pofeldt at Forbes, in 2016 freelancers made up a staggering 35% of the US workforce, a proportion of which are freelance writers. With that number ever-rising, more and more people are wondering how exactly they can get into writing and work for themselves.
The things you need to become a writer can vary wildly, depending on what type of writing you’re looking to do, and there are many choices out there, from scientific papers to marketing campaigns, ghostwriting to website copy creation. Knowing your niche can go a long way towards understanding what you need to become a writer, but the following things are a universal must for anyone looking to consider the field seriously:
- Writing and communication skills
- Motivation and productivity skills
- An active online presence and portfolio
Without these three skills and assets, the world of writing might not be a good fit for you. But if you’re willing to learn and develop those key areas, then the sky’s the limit.
Writing and communication
It might seem like the most basic requirement for anyone looking to become a writer, but you do need good writing and communication skills to be a competent, successful writer. In fact, without the ability to write well, create concise or appealing content or develop persuasive and engaging copy, you’re unlikely to succeed in the field of writing. But if you’ve got the raw talent and you love to write, working on your writing skills and abilities can be a huge boost.
Learning to write for profit isn’t just about grammar and spelling and your skill in creating writing that is correct is a great place to start. But being able to produce copy that has personality, a strong nature and can sell a product is just as important to many clients unless you aim to work as a writer for scientific articles or papers. There are many courses and qualifications available to help shape your writing into something that is more commercially friendly, while checking other writer’s sites and portfolios can give you a great idea of what is out there, and what potential clients are looking for.
Communications skills are also a must for any writer. You need to be able to connect with customers or clients, gain more work and, of course, advertise yourself in the best way possible – all of which can’t happen without skills in communication. There are many online resources and sites you can use to develop these skills so a little research can go a long way in this case.
Motivation and productivity
As any professional writer will tell you, the discipline to create content is just as necessary as the ability to write that content in the first place – and a lack of motivation can be a serious problem for anyone looking to become a writer or even freelance for the first time. Writing is the same as any other job in that you will be set deadlines and will need to get the work completed within that timescale, often without exception.
However, unlike many other roles, writing is often taken on a freelance basis; meaning that whereas an office worker or someone within a business has a boss, manager or clock keeping an eye on what they do, a writer has the additional freedom to work away from those pressures. For some, this freedom can increase productivity, but for others, it can result in late work, missed deadlines and stress.
For anyone looking to become a writer, you need to be able to manage your workload effectively, and to do so requires a motivation to succeed and the productivity to follow that work through. Using tools like timers, distraction-removing apps and even a separate office can all help to boost that productivity, and these tools can be incredibly helpful for anyone looking to become a writer.
Online presence and portfolio
When it comes to marketing yourself and your writing, it’s not enough to simply have a website people can visit. With writing become an increasingly competitive market, if you want to become a writer, you’ll need the ability to sell your services to potential clients and businesses. As a writer, you’ll likely work for companies all over the globe, making an online presence and digital savvy a must for any modern writer.
This could mean increasing your presence on social media, especially on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and also creating engaging sample content and writing that can be distributed across these platforms, from blog content to an online portfolio. As we already mentioned, a large part of writing is the communication with your clients, and sites like LinkedIn can provide you with the perfect start to communicate with potential clients and get your writing seen by all the right people.
The use of agency copywriting sites can provide you with a way to market your services in a specific location and concentrated fashion, but when it comes to expanding what you can offer, an excellent portfolio and online presence are a must. If you still have questions, why not check out our guide on how to become a copywriter.
Main image credit: Jessica Lewis
Internal image credits: Startup Stock Photos, Pixabay, Tirachard Kumtanom, Pixabay